Hyatt Ziva, formerly Barcelo, opened in 2013. Barcelo was a resort with a great reputation and both names are under the Playa parent company. When Hyatt Ziva took over, they upgraded and revamped much of the resort. It now includes an open air lobby with amazing views, 591 suites/rooms, 12 lounges and a great kid’s club. The resort is located in San Jose del Cabo, about a 25 minute ride from Cabo San Lucas and a 20 minute drive from the Cabo airport.
Hyatt Ziva arranged transportation for us from the Cabo airport to the hotel via Olympus Tours. The service is prompt (we had to wait about 15 minutes for one more couple to arrive, but, it being Cabo, there was a bar right there for us to relax with a Corona and a coke for the kids) and the van was clean. Arrival at the hotel caused Max and Zoe to say, “WOW!!” The huge lobby is open-air, with views straight out the many pools and the Sea of Cortez. Decorated in a unique style to fit in with the surrounding area of San Jose del Cabo, the lobby has a welcoming reception desk, loads of sitting areas, a large concierge and an excursions desk. Check in is friendly and efficient. I asked for an upgrade if possible and the staff member went in back to check with his manager to see if they had one room class above ours available. Unfortunately there were none available, but it turned out our room was spectacular. Quite large, with a huge bathroom and gorgeous open air shower, it also had a balcony looking right out over one of the lounges, having direct views to the Sea of Cortez. Truly, we could not have asked for a better room.
Hyatt Ziva is an all-inclusive resort, meaning all food, drinks, gratuities and taxes are paid for upon arrival. We immediately went down to the pool area to get a drink and take a walk around the resort to get our bearings. On our walk, we found:
- A beautiful lounge area with waterfalls and water features, surrounded by flowers and trees. This area has “islands” of fire pits and comfortable couches, making it a popular place to sit at night and socialize.
- An adults-only pool
- A kid’s pool and Kid’s Club, complete with water slides and water toys of all kinds. The kid’s club is included for guests of the resort
- A large pool in the center of the resort with basketball hoops, volleyball nets, water toys and bridges, all surrounded by shaded sun chairs, some under cabanas and some under umbrellas. Our favorites were the sun chairs half in the water and half out. Perfect for keeping cool.
- An infinity pool right on the beach with gorgeous views and a swim up pool bar. We spent the majority of our time here so we could see the beach.
- A gorgeous wide beach with cabanas for rent and more sun chairs. This beach also had fire pits placed throughout for evening relaxation.
- A tequila bar
- A sports bar
- 7 restaurants, including French, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, 3 typical buffets for breakfast or lunch, an ice cream shop, a deli for snacks and a pool snack bar.
The resort is quite large, but it wasn’t so large that we were overwhelmed and service was pretty impeccable. Most surprisingly, for an all-inclusive, the food was really good. We were not obligated to go to buffets only and we took advantage of the Japanese and Italian restaurants. For lunches, we mostly ate at the pool bar and breakfast was in La Plaza buffet, which had a great variety of food and we never felt like we were lining up cattle call-style for food.
Pros and Cons for a family visit:
- Clean and neat – we didn’t see any broken tiles by the pool or feel like the place was run down at all.
- Kid’s amenities – the kids club is no extra charge and they have plenty of activities for kids. In particular, the kids pool with all the water slides is really fun for children.
- Staff was super helpful and really, genuinely nice.
- Food was great.
- Prompt service – if you want a glass of wine at 11pm, they will deliver it to your room pretty quick!
- Variety of options for food. Too many all inclusive resorts rely on buffets to feed their guests.
- No bait and switch on drinks choices – all beer and wine and mixed drinks are included. Certain bottles of wine are extra but they are clear on that upon booking.
- Service in the beach cabanas is friendly and prompt. They want you to be happy.
- Variety of things to do. Relax in a pool? Check. Play beach volleyball? Check. Play ping pong? Check. There is something for everyone.
- Too many corporate event guests. When we arrived, a Tempur-Sealy event was at the hotel and they had their company name stenciled on large floating lights in the water feature/lounge area (see photo below). In my opinion, it cheapens a resort when they do that. Even after Tempur left, there were more and more corporate groups coming in, creating more crowds of drinkers at the pool.
- The music by the pool. It’s blasting. And I mean blasting. There were occasions where we could barely hear each other. We asked them to turn it down numerous times, only have it turned up again 1/2 hour later. The worst part was when we were in our relaxing beach cabana, trying to relax and enjoy the sound of ocean waves and all we could hear was music, much of it totally inappropriate for children.
- Certain entertainment. I thought it was great that they had nightly entertainment. However, they took that entertainment too far much of the time. I did not see the purpose of having loud bands in the center courtyard, which was right near the fire pit lounge area. We loved relaxing by the fire pits after dinner, playing Uno and two of the evenings the music was insanely loud. It was annoying and probably drove people away, including us.
- Non-swimmable beach. This wasn’t a huge con for us because we generally stick to the pools, but many people love the beach. However a non-swimmable beach is very common in Cabo and only a handful of resorts have them That being said, the pools at Hyatt Ziva could have been warmer.
Overall we liked Hyatt Ziva. It has a lot of options for a family vacation and is in a beautiful area. In fact, the area it is located is San Jose del Cabo, the “quieter” town, as opposed to Cabo San Lucas. For travelers without kids, I think Cabo San Lucas is the preferred town for it’s party atmosphere, but the area we were in was perfect for families. A taxi from Hyatt Ziva to Los Cabos is $40 – $60, but San Jose is only a 15 minute walk from Hyatt Ziva, making it very convenient. I did observe, however, that for a resort that bills itself a “family resort”, there weren’t all that many families when we were there. There were far more adults, couples and corporate groups. That’s not to say we didn’t have a great time and we were perfectly happy, but if the resort bills itself family friendly, they need to cut down on corporate and focus more on marketing to families.
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